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March 8, 2014 | By David Lauter
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The two major political parties look at off-cycle congressional elections the way great powers eye wars in small lands - as a chance to test weapons and tactics they'll soon deploy elsewhere. That's why many of the ads running on television here - for a race to fill a congressional vacancy representing a swath of Florida's Gulf Coast - will probably sound familiar soon to voters in competitive districts nationwide. "Cut spending, stop Obamacare," proclaim the spots supporting Republican David Jolly . "I'll bring Republicans and Democrats together," Democrat Alex Sink promises in her ads, while simultaneously accusing Jolly of endangering Social Security, Medicare and abortion rights.
March 7, 2014 | By Mark Z. Barabak
DES MOINES - For more than 40 years, Iowa voters have played a vital role in picking the nation's president, culling the field of hopefuls and helping launch a fortunate handful all the way to the White House. For about 35 of those years, Iowa has been the target of jealousy and scorn, mainly from outsiders who say the state, the first to vote in the presidential contest, is too white and too rural; that its caucuses, precinct-level meetings of party faithful, are too quirky and too exclusionary to play such a key role in the nominating process.
March 5, 2014 | By Jill Cowan
An Orange County official once convicted of election fraud quietly has been stripped of his authority over the county's Registrar of Voters. Labor leaders had expressed outrage that Chief Operating Officer Mark Denny , who pleaded guilty to election fraud in 1996, was given authority over the department tasked with running elections. Denny will keep administrative and budget oversight of the registrar's department, but Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley will now report directly to County Chief Executive Officer Mike Giancola.
March 4, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans quickly erected a wall of opposition to President Obama's proposed 2015 budget, establishing election year battle lines over which party can best handle the nation's finances and address rising income inequality. It's no surprise Republicans oppose Obama's signature priorities in the budget -- shoring up the Affordable Care Act and pursuing a comprehensive immigration law overhaul. But as both parties try to appeal to middle America heading into the fall midterm elections, each is seeking arguments focused on the pocketbook issues that continue to worry many Americans in the sputtering economy.
March 2, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO - When Councilman Kevin Faulconer raises his hand Monday and is sworn in as mayor, he will take over the final 33 months of Bob Filner's scandal-shortened tenure. But in political terms the key number is not 33, but 20, or maybe 24 - the number of months before Faulconer, a Republican, will need to begin campaigning for a second term. Historically, that has not been a problem here. No San Diego mayor has been denied reelection since a Democrat lost in 1971 - one mayor, a Republican, was even reelected while he was fighting corruption charges that ultimately drove him from office.
March 2, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
U.S. hospitals are making major strides at clamping down on early deliveries of babies and instead letting Mother Nature take its course in response to growing pressure from employers, government officials and patient-safety advocates. The Leapfrog Group, an employer-backed organization that tracks hospital safety and quality, published data Monday showing a sharp decrease in early-elective deliveries since 2010 nationwide and in California. The rate of deliveries before 39 weeks without a medical reason fell to 4.6% last year compared with 17% in 2010 among nearly 1,000 U.S. hospitals that reported results.
February 26, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO - Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer said Wednesday that he plans to name Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman to succeed Chief Bill Lansdowne, who is set to retire Monday after 10 years heading the San Diego Police Department. Zimmerman, 54, has been with the San Diego department for 31 years. She is a graduate of Ohio State University. She will be the first woman to be chief in department history. Her selection was immediately praised by Acting Mayor Todd Gloria, Dist. Atty.
February 24, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
National team veterans Kristine Lilly and Brian McBride and former national team coach Bob Bradley were elected Monday to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Lilly played in a record 352 games for the U.S. women's team over a 24-year international career that featured appearances in five World Cups. "One of the most humbling parts of this is being inducted with so many of the greats that came before me," said Lilly, who was elected in her first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot.
February 22, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko
KIEV, Ukraine - The most ardent foe of Ukraine's embattled president was freed from prison Saturday and rushed to the capital, where she was greeted by tens of thousands of supporters chanting her name, some so overcome by emotion that they fainted. Events in Kiev and around the country had the feel of a revolution nearing its culmination. Having retreated to his eastern stronghold, President Viktor Yanukovich fulminated in an Internet clip against "Nazis" and "bandits. " He insisted he still was the country's leader and that he would not resign.
February 22, 2014 | By Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - For a while it looked like the state Legislature was shedding its reputation as a political punching bag, its ratings in public opinion polls climbing out of the cellar as the budget crisis eased and the economy began to recover. Then federal authorities announced criminal charges against state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) and his brother Tom Calderon, a former lawmaker, on Friday. The senator is accused of fraud, money laundering and taking nearly $100,000 in bribes in return for pushing to expand tax credits for the film industry and opposing certain workers' compensation legislation.
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